Balancing the Formula for On-Time Graduation
PASADENA, CA —When young people don't engage in educational activities during the summer, learning loss is the result. As reported by National Summer Learning Association, low-income students are the most affected, as camps and fee-only programs are out of reach for struggling families (http://www.summerlearning.org/). The Association states further that, more than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. Now in its third year, SKILLZ Summer School is balancing the equation for school success.
Spearheaded by Flintridge Center in collaboration with Day One, Lake Avenue Community Foundation and other community partners, the free, five-week program focuses on teens most at risk of dropping out of school or failing to graduate. Students entering 9th and 10th grades, who have multiple F grades and/or behavioral issues, have the opportunity to earn both elective and academic credits in a safe and supportive environment.
"The transition from middle into high school is a critical period. Once students fall behind, they have difficulty catching up. That's why SKILLZ targets this particular age group," said LaWayne Williams, Flintridge Center Program Director, who oversees the summer school and coordinates the academic classes. "SKILLZ is the only free summer program in Pasadena where 9th and 10th graders can make up coursework for credit. Our proactive approach keeps teens on track to on-time graduation."
Eighty-nine students are enrolled in the current session, which runs from June 18 to July 19, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the campus of Lake Avenue Church. Morning life skills workshops, coordinated and led by Day One, empower youth in dealing with daily life issues.
In the afternoon, students take classes taught by credentialed instructors to recover failed academic credits in math and English. Classroom assistance is provided by John Muir High School graduates who are currently in college. SKILLZ Summer School is the result of local organizations working together to fill the gaps caused by school budget cuts.
In addition to the services and programming provided by Flintridge Center, Day One and over a dozen community partners, Lake Avenue Community Foundation donates the use of the church's facilities, Pasadena Unified School District provides mental health support and free breakfast and lunch, community volunteers help with food distribution and classroom monitoring, and mental health personnel from local agencies are available to counsel teens with special needs.
As a nonprofit, Flintridge Center counts on donations from the community to make its programs possible. To support SKILLZ, go to www.crowdrise.com/skillz.
[Flintridge Center has been serving Northwest Pasadena/West Altadena for nearly 30 years, originally as the Flintridge Foundation, and as of 2007, as a 501(c)(3) public charity – Flintridge Center. The mission of Flintridge Center is to build hope and resilience in the lives of youth and their families by reducing community violence, improving academic achievement, and launching career paths. Each year, its mentoring and afterschool programs serve more than 1,000 youth who are at-risk for dropping out of school or joining gangs; and its reintegration and pre-apprenticeship programs serve more than 400 formerly incarcerated individuals and former gang members. Learn more at www.Flintridge.org.]